I personally use a .270, but you can't go wrong with a 30-06. There are many more than adequate deer rifles, but I think most will agree that the 30-06 is the standard, and you can find ammo very easily.
get a Stevens model 200. They are available in a variety of calibers from .223-.300mag. They are very accurate and retail for a little over $300 which leavesyou with money for a scope. they made by savage arms. I have a savage 111 in 30-06 and love it, it is accurate as hell and only cost a little over $400.
I assume that badfisherman is talking about a .32 special which is basically the same as a 30-30. That was my first deer rifle and I can say I never shot at a deer I didn't get with that rifle. I even took 3 deer at over 100 yards with it. I wouldn't recommend a scope with it however I have a peep sight on it and it's fast and accurate, its a 100 yard or less gun. Ammo can be difficult to find as the caliber is no longer in production. A 30-30 has accounted for more deer than probably any other caliber out there and with the new lever-revolution ammunition can be quite accurate out to 200 yards unfortunately they don't produce this new ammo in the .32 special caliber. Either way with $400 bucks to spend you should be able to find a good used rifle in about any caliber you want. Whereabouts are you located? I could steer you to a good dealer in your location that would treat you right.
why would you not recommend a scope? i personally cant hunt without one, i've had a scope on my rifle since the day i left basic training in the army and find it a lot easier to acquire my target with one. i'm not saying you need one but i would definetly not say you shouldnt have one. as for distance my longest buck was at 158 yards and i took it in the heart and it fell in its tracks. if you like the big caliber guns get one, but i like a gun that i can comfortably shoot and lug around all day in my hand rather than on a sling. my 2cents.
________ Dodge Kahuna
Badfisherman are you talking about a rifle cartridged for the .32 pistol ammunition? I've never seen .32 winchester special ammunition at any Walmart. It is only my opinion that with 100 yard or less cartridge a scope is not required and it may be better to put the added value into the rifle. I would not reccomend purchasing a gun with a "cheap" scope mounted onto it as it can be more of a detriment than anything in a low light situation as most of the inexpensive scopes tend to "white out" in low light situations making it extremely difficult to aquire your target during those critical first and last 30 minutes of legal hunting time, and they tend to wear out which if at the wrong time can lead to heartache. If one decides to use a scope on a rifle it should be of a quality that greatly enhances your shooting ability and matches the cartridges capabilities. I agree with Ithaca that if you are going to buy one rifle that something like the 06 is a better all-around cartridge that can be used for basically every North American big game species and falls within the price range, and I would highly recommend equipping a scope onto rifle in a caliber like the 06 (again just my opinion).
also, mainehunter4992 are you are shooter, a hunter, or both? If you are into shooting, you will want to find a rifle chambered in something that is affrdable, like 308. I know a lot of hunters don't shoot much, if that is you then it probably doesn't matter what you get it chambered in. However if you plan on doing any signifcant volume of shooting, you may want to think carefully about what cartirdge you choose.
thanks for all your input guys. i have decided that i am going to buy a .270 and shoot 115 grain bullet. recently i have shot a moose with a .270 that was shooting 115 grain bullet and one shot the moose was down. and the 115 grain bullet at 200 yds only sinks 1 inch. thanks agian for all the help!
Marlin 336 in .30-30 or .32 special. Especially now that you can match it with the LeveRevolution ammo from Hornady. Buy a scope with see-through rings. Sight the irons in for 50 or 75 yards, and the scope for 100-150.
7mm Rem Mag. I shoot small loads for coyote, larger loads for deer and huge loads for moose and bear. I can shoot up to 400 yrds accurately, a group a size of a dinner plate, with only a 46" drop and its not all that big of a gun. Duane
The 30-06, .270, and 30-30 are probably the mainstay cartridges in this part of the country and there are many dozens of rifles that you can choose from in those calibers. I'm a big fan of the 45-70 lever guns from Marlin. They're strong as hell and more reliable than the Winchesters. For many years I used a Marlin 336 in 35 Remington. The 35 Rem has considerably more knockdown than the 30-30 and for the relatively short ranges (under 100 yards) that most deer are taken, the higher trajectory of that heavy .35 is of no consequence. If you check the ballistics tables on the 2 cartridges you'll see what I mean. A scope? Personally I prefer receiver mounted peep sights. Even at longer ranges up to 250-300 yards they will place a bullet more accurately than most hunters are capable of. My vote? Get a Marlin 336 in 35 Rem. and mount peep sights. You'll have it for the rest of your life.
I really like the Marlin 1895GS, apart from the chunky forend (which is going to be slimmed soon) and the crappy iron sights. I mounted a peep sight on the back and use the peep reticle when at the range and ditch it when in the woods and I have a "ghost ring" sight. Works great. If you handload you can load the Marlin to 2100fps with a 300gr bullet (faster probably, but not necessary) and it really groups good at 100yds. It is a pretty versatile caliber, given the light to heavy bullet choices. Handy too. If you want, you can mount a scope, or get a scout rail and mount an Aimpoint or Eotech sight. Best deer rifle? It sure carries nice in the woods when hunting all day up north with heavy gloves. You can get a Wild West Guns big loop lever too which makes the gloves easier to shoot with. Reliable too, and fast shooting.